New Testament Church-Planting Principles Yield Results in India

A ministry in northern India has seen the Lord move mightily through its church-planting program, which is modeled after the methods of the New Testament apostles. The ministry presently has 199 church planters traveling to every district of its state to raise up and disciple new believers. More specific information on their growing number and locations cannot be published for security reasons.

Many areas of this state are particularly hostile to the gospel. One district had a population of only 324 Christians out of its nearly one million inhabitants, according to 1991 census data. Yet even this ground is being broken by the truth. Recently in this district, seven Christians underwent training to do outreach in their communities. In one town, a new house church was started in June with seven members.

The house church is the ministry’s point of entry into unchurched communities. Following a process laid forth in the New Testament, gospel workers visit villages searching for believers. If they find none, they look for a “man of peace” who might be receptive to the gospel. His home becomes the staging area for a potential house church.

Often they discover isolated Christian families with no leadership or means of going deeper in their relationships with Christ. The church planters bring these families together, discipling and teaching them biblical truth. A small cell group is formed, and leaders emerge. As the cell begins to attract new believers from the village, a substantial house church eventually is formed.

At this point, the church planters move to a new location, always keeping in touch with the newly-formed congregation. When a pastor is needed for a growing church, believers select the most able man to attend a nine-month training program run by the church-planting ministry.

This method has proved extremely effective. In May and June alone, one district saw 100 people decide to follow Christ; 165 were renewed in spirit; 32 dedicated their lives to the Lord’s service; and 40 experienced the healing power of God. In another district, 33 believers joined together to construct a church building.

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